Cost of living allowance drops in Germany
Stars and Stripes June 16, 2007
Hang on to your wallets — the cost-of-living allowance given to U.S. troops in Germany will decrease again today, according to the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee Web site.
In most other European locales, the allowance will continue at its previous two-week level at least until the end of June.
It is the second time this month the allowance, known as COLA, has decreased for servicemembers in Germany. Today’s drop lowers COLA in the country by between 6 percent and 7 percent, and brings it to its lowest level since mid-December 2006. The decline will be reflected in troops’ end-of-month pay.
According to a message posted on the per diem committee Web site, the COLA reduction in Germany was based on an exchange rate adjustment. From June 1 to Thursday the cost of a euro had dropped from $1.3814 to $1.3656, a difference of 1.58 U.S. cents, according to military exchange rate data.
The COLA drop affects every U.S. military community in Germany, as well as a handful of communities in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, where the exchange rate also caused a downturn in COLA payments.
The allowance, designed to partially offset the higher prices of goods and services overseas, did not change at U.S. military communities in the United Kingdom, Belgium or Portugal.
Civilians who get post allowance, COLA’s civilian counterpart, now get about 7 percent more money than troops get to compensate for the high cost of living in parts of Germany where most U.S. troops are stationed.
A single E-6 with four years’ service living off base in Kaiserslautern will get about $17.42 a day in COLA. Civilians paid an annual salary of $30,000 to $32,000 — the bracket into which the E-6 would fall — get about $18.64 a day in post allowance if living in the same community.
Both COLA and post allowance can be adjusted as often as every two weeks, but post allowance, which requires a higher threshold for change, hasn’t changed in Germany since rocketing up 20 percent across most of the country in March. COLA, meanwhile, had held steady from March until the beginning of June when it fell between 6 percent and 7 percent.
New cost data also resulted in a COLA reduction at the beginning of May, but that drop was offset by a weakened dollar, which effectively left the allowance unchanged.
To check the COLA rates in your community, go to the per diem committee’s Web site at: https://secureapp2.hqda.pentagon.mil/perdiem/ocform.html.
Thanks to a stronger dollar, troops in Germany will receive less cost-of-living allowance for the next two weeks. A look at other communities in Europe where COLA will decrease:ItalyLa Maddalena and VeronaNetherlandsBrunssum/Schinen, the Hague, Valkenburg and AmsterdamSpainCadiz and Rota